Tennessee's Governor Signs Bill Establishing Needs-Based College Grants

Jul 11, 2013

Governor Haslam signs a bill establishing Tennessee's Western Governor's University on July 9, 2013.
Credit Governor's Office, July 2013.

  Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has signed a bill to establish a $35 million dollar endowment to provide need-based grants for students at the state's two-year public community colleges. 

“For us to attract and grow Tennessee jobs today and in the future, we have to do a better job of building a skilled workforce, which means removing barriers that stand in the way of Tennesseans furthering their education,” Haslam said during the ceremonial bill signing at Chattanooga State Community College.  “These scholarships will help students afford college who might not otherwise be able to attend.”

The bill is a part of Haslam's plan to send more Tennessee residents to college. By 2025, the governor has said he wants 55 percent of the state's residents to have a two-year degree or higher; today, 32 percent of Tennesseans have a two-year degree or higher. 

Part of the money to establish the endowment comes from Tennessee's Federal Family Education Loan Program. The Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation is managing the endowment; the TSAC will work with the Tennessee Department of Treasury to set the best investment option for the endowment.

Grants will be available to eligible students attending Tennessee's public community colleges. Grant payments will go directly to the community college on behalf of grant recipients.  Financial need will be calculated based on a variety of factors including: household income; assets; and family size.